On poetic imagination and reverie: selections from Gaston Bachelard

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Spring Publications, 1987 - Literary Criticism - 112 pages
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Gaston Bachelard was considered one of the great minds of our times. His prodigious ability, displayed in twenty-three books & expressed in subtle, suggested prose has produced the single most important body of thought in the recovery of imagination in the twentieth century. Beginning his intellectual career in mathematics, physics & chemistry, he held a chair in the philosophy of science at the Sorbonne. Then he initiated a wholly new method of working with matter, penetrating to its essential core where the discourses of science, psychoanalysis & aesthetics merge. His poetics of Air, Water, Earth, Fire & Space (excerpted in this compendium) have become indispensable for the study of images - in dreams, alchemy, poetry & literature & psychopathology. These passage from his major works, their thematic organization, the authoritative prefaces by Colette Gaudin which place his work in the stream of current ideas, as well as the Bibliography of writings by & on Bachelard, together provide a concise introduction & brilliantly capture Bachelard's genius.

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To dream well xxxi A mobile unity xxxii The rehabilitation of

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About the author (1987)

Born in Bar-sur-Aube, France, in 1884, Gaston Bachelard received his doctorate in 1927. He became professor of philosophy at the University of Dijon in 1930, and held the chair in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris from 1940 to 1954. In epistemology and the philosophy of science, Bachelard espoused a dialectical rationalism, or dialogue between reason and experience. He rejected the Cartesian conception of scientific truths as immutable; he insisted on experiment as well as mathematics in the development of science. Bachelard described the cooperation between the two as a philosophy of saying no, of being ever ready to revise or abandon the established framework of scientific theory to express the new discoveries. In addition to his contributions to the epistemological foundations of science, Bachelard explored the role of reverie and emotion in the expressions of both science and more imaginative thinking. His psychological explanations of the four elements-earth, air, fire, water-illustrate this almost poetic aspect of his philosophy.

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